Study Guide

Daryl and Keith in I Am the Messenger

By Markus Zusak

Daryl and Keith

These balaclava-clad, pie-eating hit men aren't so much dangerous as they are funny. Daryl and Keith might be hired to scare the living daylights out of Ed, but they really provide the comic relief in the story. When Ed first meets them, he wants to make sure his beloved Doorman is okay, and in the classic way that only Keith can, he replies, "We're not savages, you know. In fact, we're quite civilized" (2.2.61). Of course they are—they brought pie… though they also broke into Ed's house and are wearing masks.

Daryl and Keith are here to lighten the mood. Ed already realizes the scariness of his situation, so they provide some much needed levity—and while all his friends are off dealing with their own lives, Ed gets a little help in this department from the so-called hit men. If you thought they were just here for laughs though, think again. These clowns are the ones who tell him:

  • everyone suffers for mankind;
  • it's all about truth;
  • and Ed's just like his father.

They might complain his dog didn't bark at them when they broke in, or that the Doorman's covered in fleas, but Daryl and Keith are also delivering deeply felt messages to Ed that he needs to hear. After all, the book's title lets us in on the fact that messages are delivered, and, while it might seem like Ed is the one doing to the delivering, he's actually receiving some big news himself.

All three of the ideas that Daryl and Keith introduce to Ed rock his world, and in the end Ed wants them to stick around because he enjoys their company… and wants more messages from them.

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